Planet Rugby

New-look back-line for Waratahs

10th April 2014 04:51

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Israel Folau

Back: Israel Folau

Waratahs full-back Israel Folau will make his return to Super Rugby against the Western Force on Saturday, as one of four changes to the back-line.

Fully recovered from being sidelined for two weeks with a throat injury, Folau makes his comeback as part of a new-look back three, with coach Michael Cheika selecting Rob Horne and Cam Crawford on the wings.

Crawford gets his first shot in the top grade in 2014, courtesy of a broken foot to left wing speedster Peter Betham.

Eight tries in seven games last season gave Crawford the best tries-to-games ratio in Super Rugby but off-season surgery on his left shoulder stalled his charge.

Horne's second chance in number 14 comes due a knee injury to Alofa Alofa.

After making his season debut on the wing against the Sharks, Horne's high shot on Francios Steyn in the Sharks match saw him suspended for one week. But impressed by Horne's commitment, Cheika has rushed the 25-year-old back into the starting line up. The game is Horne's first start of the 2014 season, his sixth year with the Tahs.

With Super Rugby's leading try-scorer for 2014 Folau back in at full-back, his stand-in for the last two weeks -Kurtley Beale - returns to inside centre, re-establishing the partnership with Adam Ashley-Cooper.

The halves combination remains the same, with Nick Phipps and Bernard Foley continuing the partnership they have enjoyed since Round 1.

The forward pack's dominate display in the victory over the Stormers has meant coach Cheika has left the pack unchanged.

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgeiter, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Sepoke Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Silatolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Stephen Hoiles, 20 Patrick McCutcheon, 21 Brendan McKibbin, 22 Jono Lance, 23 Matt Carraro .

Date: Saturday, April 12
Venue: nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-off: 17.40 (09.40 GMT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Ian Smith (Australia), Damien Mitchelmore (Australia)

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